No Time to Die - The Aftermath
Cary Fukunaga was interviewed for Slashfilm in October and said that although some sets were actually designed and constructed for Danny Boyle's aborted Bond film they didn't use any of them in No Time to Die - though they did briefly consider it. Given that Boyle's film had a Russian theme it would appear likely that most of the sets were simply irrelevent to what No Time to Die eventually became. No Time to Die obviously didn't have much use for a Russian gulag! Fukunaga said that when he had met with Barbara Broccoli prior to Danny Boyle being signed on as the director, he'd pitched an idea for a Bond reboot film. None of the ideas in this reboot pitch were used in No Time to Die so Fukunaga felt his pitch (which he obviously kept to himself) would still be viable for the next Bond film. Cary Fukunaga was asked about whether or not he would like to direct another Bond film in the future and said he was certainly open to that possibility. He would be happy to take the phone call should EON contact him again.
Fukunaga said that the ending of No Time to Die had been something Barbara Broccoli and Daniel Craig both insisted upon. Fukunaga said it was difficult to come up with a way to do this (kill Bond) but he felt that in the end they managed to connect Bond's sacrifice in No Time to Die to themes already prevelent in the Daniel Craig era. Cary Fukunaga was somewhat vague on what exactly these themes were were but seemed to suggest it had something to do with characters being doomed by their professions. Fukunaga said they had considered blowing Bond up in a rocket and having him shot by an unknown bullet before they decided on missiles as the best way to kill him. Daniel Craig joked that they should have had Bond killed by a dodgy oyster!
It was reported in the media at this time that MGM had $1 million a month interest charges on the money it had borrowed to finance No Time to Die. This had affected the studio's financial credit rating on the markets. The film had cost a whopping $250 million to produce. When you factor in the many millions spent in all the marketing campaigns it amounted to an eye-watering total. No wonder MGM were so desperate in 2021 to get the film out so that they could finally start making some of that money back. Money was clearly going to be less of a problem going forward for an Amazon owned MGM. Amazon were perfectly happy and able to spend hundreds of millions on streaming television shows let alone movies. If nothing else, Amazon had deep pockets. Money would not be an issue on Bond 26.
Despite the preposterously delayed and complex release history of No Time to Die, it was hardly unique. Top Gun: Maverick was actually postponed SIX times during the pandemic.
MGM decided to move No Time to Die onto PVOD platforms one month after it was released in cinemas. This was a shrewd tactic because it did very well and managed to catch some of those Bond fans and casual fans who were still reluctant to go out in throngs of crowds to public places. This move was something of a compromise between MGM and EON. This way, Barbara Broccoli still got her premiere and cinema release but MGM also got some extra VOD money.
The film also got a limited re-release in cinemas later on - which added a few extra pennies to the gross. As of yet, the deal for Amazon to purchase MGM had not gone through. That would be completed in March 2022. Spare a thought by the way for Australian Bond fans at this time. No Time to Die didn't open there until November the 11th. Heaven knows how they avoided any spoilers. In the end, No Time to Die would gross around £770 million at the worldwide box-office. This was a very respectable figure under the circumstances (No Time to Die was the first film since the COVID-19 pandemic that crossed $100 million in an overseas debut without the China market) but down on Spectre and even further down on Skyfall. The fact that it didn't make as much money as those films was completely expected and probably unavoidable.
Trade publications suggested that MGM would take a financial hit on No Time to Die because it needed to gross at least $900 million to show any real profit. At the very least though EON knew that interest in James Bond was still very high and they were doubtless comforted by the fact that the next film was highly unlikely to experience such a protracted and frustrating series of delays. Most importantly of all, the next Bond film would hopefully only require ONE promotional campaign! MGM and product placement partners had spent hundreds of millions of dollars promoting No Time to Die across its various aborted campaigns and release dates. EON would be desperately hoping that such a pesky and expensive scenario never happened again.
one article on the finances and box-office of No Time to Die said that
with the modern Bond films EON increasingly made Britain a priority in
their marketing and release dates because of the huge amounts of money
the films made there. The strategy of EON was therefore to maximise the
huge demand for Bond in Britain and allow this to mitigate the fact
that North America is not always quite such a sure thing (in terms of
blockbuster status) when it comes to 007. Another mitigating factor was
that Bond films could also now rely on making a very welcome bundle of
cash in China. Bond was a very global brand - so little wonder that
Amazon wanted a slice of this indestructible pop culture icon. When
tallied together, the box-office revenue collected by No Time to Die in
Britain and China eclipsed that of the United States.
Hodge said that only a line of his dialogue made it into No Time to Die in the end. I'd imagine Bond fans would love to read John Hodge's script. Hodge seemed to give the impression in his Guardian interview that writing a big action film like Bond hadn't really been his cup of tea and that he was relieved to have left in the end. John Hodge said the most difficult thing about writing a Bond film is coming up with original action sequences that haven't been done before either in the Bond franchise or other action adventures. It is almost impossible now to come up with something that hasn't already been done elsewhere.
Daniel Craig said that after the German premiere of Casino Royale, he had asked Barbara Broccoli how many Bond films he was expected to make and she replied that they had him under contract for four films. Craig then asked if his Bond could die onscreen when he got to his last film. Barbara apparently laughed this off at the time but did later agree to a death scene. This conversation was then forgotten but after he agreed to come back after Spectre, Craig remembered the chat about a death scene for his Bond and resurrected this idea. Barbara Broccoli was more than happy to go along with this. A big factor in EON'S obvious enthusiasm for this idea was most likely the huge success of the James Mangold film Logan - where Wolverine was given a heroic death to mark the end of Hugh Jackman's tenure as this character (though he later agreed to come back in Deadpool 3).
"I feel like I needed to end what I did on it," said Craig on Bond's death. "I would be only satisfied if I could walk away and there was nowhere else for that to go, that someone else would have to come along and invent something completely different. If he stayed alive he would kill the people he loved, so, therefore there was no argument."
It was pretty remarkable to think that a Bond actor could exert this level of artistic control over the franchise. Craig was very unique in that regard. The previous Bond actors basically had to turn up to work and then play what was given to them. Craig on the other was given a lot of power in deciding WHAT he was going to turn up to play.
"It’s the ultimate sacrifice," said Barbara Broccoli on Bond's demise in No Time to Die. "It’s very appropriate because people in this line of work put themselves at risk all the time. The amazing thing was that the audience managed to keep this secret, and that’s really a testament, I think, to the Bond fans, that they didn’t want to spoil other people’s enjoyment by telling them the end of the story." Barbara said that she felt the death of Bond in No Time to Die was a great way to put a line under the Craig era so that they could then begin afresh with a completely clean slate the next time around.
Léa Seydoux and Naomie Harris both said they were shocked when they first read the No Time to Die script and saw that Bond dies at the end. Harris said that she therefore felt a great responsibility when it came to secrecy. The cast were obviously required not to discuss any twists before the film came out. Bond fans themselves seemed to be sharply divided on Bond's death No Time to Die. It was a bit of a sore point for many and triggered some lively forum debates. No Time to Die appears to be the Marmite Bond film when it comes to the Bond fan community. You either love it or hate it. Some Bond fans felt No time to Die was a masteriece and worth the wait. Others thought it was melodramatic garbage and wish it hadn't been made at all. A forum bun fight greeted its arrival.
Articles at this time were full of theories about how Bond might be resurrected in the next film after his shock demise in No Time to Die. What these articles failed to understand was that it didn't actually matter. The next film would simply ignore the Craig continuity and forget No Time to Die! The franchise was at one of those tricky but neccessary crossroads points where it needed to relaunch itself with a fresh coat of paint and a younger actor. The longevity of the Bond franchise was in large part down to the fact that it periodically reinvented itself and changed the lead actor. In this it was rather like Doctor Who. If you don't like an incarnation of Doctor Who or think it has gone stale you can take comfort in the fact that a new Doctor and new showrunner will arrive sooner or later and everything will change again. Bond was sort of the same - although eras tended to last much longer in the Bond franchise.
In November, MGM studio executive Pamela Abdy was asked if she knew who the next James Bond actor was going to be yet. You won't be surpised to learn that she didn't reveal the next actor (that decision was still a long way off and yet to be decided) although Abdy did say that very vague discussions on this issue had begun with Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson. Barbara Broccoli was inevitably asked about the next Bond actor during the final No Time to Die junket but by now had a long list of stock answers to deploy in order to bat off such (inevitable) inquiries. Barbara was very experienced in dealing with questions like this.
"The thing is," said Barbara, "when you cast James Bond you’re not just casting one movie. You’re making a decision that you’re going to have to live with for at least a decade. Everybody has their own idea about what that person should be, so it’s a tough decision. With Casino Royale, by deciding to do that film and follow that trajectory it made it much easier to then identify the actor to play that role. And so now we have to decide what the films are going to be like. Are they going to be more humorous or less humorous, more gritty or not gritty? And then, when we’ve done that, we have to figure out the actor to play it. So, no, it’s not just ‘Oh, who looks good in a suit?’ We have to figure this out on our own."
The next Bond actor lists with bookmakers continued to be mildly comical with names like Tom Holland and Harry Styles perched near the top of the tree. Kingsman star Taron Egerton, despite short odds, seemed equally unlikely to be given the keys to Daniel Craig's Aston Martin. The closest thing to a favourite continued to be Henry Cavill. Cavill was obviously no stranger to EON because back in 2005, when he was only in his early twenties, he had tested for Casino Royale and ended up in the final three candidates alongside Daniel Craig and Sam Worthington. Henry Cavill only had a few credits (which included the film The Count of Monte Cristo) to his name at time of Casino Royale's casting. He had though a close brush with stardom in 2003 when the director McG cast him as Superman. However, McG left the film and was replaced as director by Bryan Singer. Singer cast Brandon Routh as Superman instead.
Cavill is often alleged to have been the runner up when it came to casting Bond in Casino Royale. He was definitely in there with a chance (though how much of a chance anyone else really had is open to question given that Barbara always had her heart set on Daniel Craig) until the bitter end. "Martin Campbell and I both enjoyed Henry Cavill’s audition," said the former 007 composer David Arnold, who provided music for the Casino Royale screen test footage. "He had all the swagger and physicality but maybe, as he was in his early twenties, felt just a little bit too young. We thought he had great presence and we weren’t at all surprised when he turned into Superman."
It is often reported that Martin Campbell wanted to cast Henry Cavill as Bond rather than Daniel Craig. It's impossible to know how true this story is but it would certainly provide an explanation for why Campbell seemed grumpy at the press conference which unveiled Craig as Bond! "Perhaps Henry Cavill was too young for it then, he was 22 at the time we auditioned for Casino Royale, but maybe he could still be James Bond in the future," Martin Campbell later said. "After all, Pierce Brosnan did a great screen test only to eventually get the part years later."
Henry Cavill was the most traditionally 007 handsome of the Casino Royale actor candidates. There is no doubt that he looked like James Bond. Not long after his audition he was in the TV show The Tudors and in 2011 he was cast as Superman in the film Man of Steel. His status as the nearly man of Hollywood was finally put to bed. Cavill became a star in his own right. He has often spoken about his dream to play James Bond one day but it could be that 2005 was his one and only chance. "At this stage, it’s all up in the air. We’ll see what happens. But yes, I would love to play Bond, it would be very, very exciting," Cavill told GQ in 2020. "If Barbara and Michael were interested in that, I would absolutely jump at the opportunity."
Cavill was likely to be well into his forties by the time Bond 26 got anywhere near a start date. Was he in danger of becoming a shade too old for the part? This was a trifle ironic given that he was considered too YOUNG the last time. If anyone was an obvious person to cast as James Bond it was Henry Cavill but this, as far as his Bond aspirations were concerned, was seen as a weakness as much as it was a strength. Barbara Broccoli is not someone who is liable to go for the obvious option. As ever, Bond fans seemed slightly divided on Henry Cavill as the next James Bond. Some felt he would be terrific while others questioned his acting ability. A lot of new media reports suggested that Barbara was much more keen on Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who was nearly a decade younger than Cavill, becoming the next Bond.
No Time to Die earned a decent smattering of awards from various countries. It picked up awards from the Set Decorators Society of America, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the Art Directors Guild Awards, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, the Japan Academy Film Prize, the Critics' Choice Super Awards, and the Houston Film Critics Society among others. EON would probably have been less pleased to see though that No Time to Die was awarded the (sarcastic) Most Egregious Age Difference Between Leading Man and Love Interest gong (thanks to Daniel Craig and Léa Seydoux playing lovers) by The Alliance of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ).
After a vigorous (if pointless) Oscar campaign by MGM, EON would doubtless have been disappointed that No Time to Die didn't get much attention when it came to the really prestigious awards. The film only got an editing award at the BAFTAS (which is Bond's home turf when it comes to the really prestigious awards ceremonies). The hope of an Oscar nomination (despite the futile campaign) proved to be predictably unrealistic. Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards probably had more chance of winning an Olympic ski jump gold medal than No Time to Die did of getting an Oscar for best film. It didn't stop Barbara Broccoli from daydreaming about such things though. This was the difference between Barbara and her father Cubby. She craved awards and artistic credibility whereas Cubby just wanted to give us a fun time in the cinema for a couple of hours.
After the dust had fallen on No Time to Die, Barbara Broccoli expressed her genuine bafflement that Daniel Craig hadn't garnered a slew of acting awards for the movie. Barbara seemed blissfully unaware that an actor, however competent that actor might be, is hardly likely to be showered in prestigious acting awards for playing James Bond! You don't get Marvel executives complaining that Robert Downey Jr should be winning Oscars for playing Iron Man. Daniel Craig couldn't really complain because he'd just picked up a huge payday for No Time to Die and was about to get a star on the Hollywood walk of fame. Craig was also made an honourary officer in the Royal Navy and recieved the Order of St. Michael and St. George in the New Year's honours list. The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George is a British order of chivalry.
In the summer of 2021, Craig had begun shooting the Knives Out sequel Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. Craig was already moving on from James Bond. It was reported that he'd already signed up for Knives Out 3 and was set to earn $100 million for the two sequels. Knives Out is a 2019 detective mystery film by Rian Johnson with an all star cast. It concerns the death of the elderly Harlan Thrombey, a wealthy mystery novelist, and follows master detective Benoit Blanc (Craig) as he attempts to find out what really happened when the old man died. Matters are complicated by Thrombey's large and greedy backstabbing family - who are all naturally jostling for position in the hope that they are going to get the lion's share of the inheritance and the literary estate. The key to the mystery could well be Harley's nurse Marta Cabrera (Ana de Armas) - a woman who seems to know much more than she is letting on.
Knives Out was an enjoyable mystery caper that proved to be a huge critical and financial hit - something which had thus far been quite elusive to Craig outside of Bond. It made over $300 million from a fairly modest budget - which was enough to pave the way for a sequel. Craig seemed to be having fun as the strangely accented Benoit Blanc and unexpectedly, as his Bond tenure drew to a close, he suddenly found himself with a brand new franchise. The most appealing thing about playing Benoit Blanc from Craig's point of view was that he didn't have to get smashed up doing stunts or spend months away from his family. Craig's career was doing just fine - even without the prospect of any more Bond movies in his future.
As for the MI6 regulars in the Craig era, they now faced an uncertain future when it came to their participation in the franchise. Naomie Harris made no secret of the fact she'd love to come back as Moneypenny but at 45 years of age it seemed doubtful that she'd make a good fit for what was now surely going to be a much younger Bond next time around. Ralph Fiennes also said he'd be delighted to come back as M. While this was just about feasible (in the manner they brought Judi Dench back even after Brosnan was axed) it would probably be slightly odd to have him as M to a new Bond when his M had presided over the death of the previous Bond! You would presume that if Fiennes came back as M we would have to just pretend this was a different M. It might be for the best to just cast a new M. How about Idris Elba as M? Has anyone suggested that yet?
Ben Whishaw was more philosophical about his future participation and simply said that his contract was up and he would accept whatever happened. Out of these three regulars, Whishaw's Q would probably feel the least jarring to have in the next film with a fresh 007. Q, unlike Moneypenny, is a character where it doesn't matter if he's much older than Bond. Besides, Whishaw was still pretty young anyway. Whishaw suggested that Bridgerton star Jonathan Bailey should be the next Bond. Whishaw said it would be a sign of real progress to have an openly gay James Bond actor. In an interview he conducted on the eve of No Time to Die's release, Whishaw had said that, in his opinion, the Bond franchise would have to be radical and different in the future to avoid becoming a museum piece.
Rory Kinnear, who played Tanner in the Craig films, was also asked about his future participation. Kinnear said the Bond films were great fun to do and he'd never turn his back on them but did concede that it might make more sense for the next Bond actor to be surrounded with a new team to give the franchise a fresh slate. This was definitely the logical thing to do but we still didn't know yet if this would happen. Barbara would doubtless be tempted to retain actors of the calibre of Ralph Fiennes and Ben Whishaw but would have to weigh this against the needs of the next iteration of 007.
In January, Baz Bamigboye, the Daily Mail's showbusiness editor (and a man known for a few Bond scoops in his time) managed to write a short article about the future of James Bond without telling us a single thing we didn't already know. Baz told us that the next Bond would be much younger and that 49 year-old Idris Elba, despite endless newspaper clickbait connecting him to the role, was too old to be seriously considered as Daniel Craig's replacement. Bamigboye suggested that the next Bond actor would probably not be a big star and most likely have a solid theatre background. Idris Elba continued to feature so heavily in Bond articles that Barbara Broccoli was even asked about him. Barbara was forced to say that she knew Idris, thought he was great, and he was part of the conversation. This obviously did not mean that Elba was in contention. It was merely Barbara Broccoli being polite and diplomatic.
One tradition in the Bond franchise is that the director usually has some input into who the next Bond might be and also directs the audition screentests. John Glen, for example, directed a lot of Bond screentests during the Roger Moore years. When they were casting Live and Let Die they were torn over whether to cast Michael Billington or Roger Moore as the new Bond. It is alleged that Broccoli/Saltzman favoured the relatively unknown Billington (who was known for the television shows The Onedin Line and Gerry Anderson's UFO) while United Artists preferred the more famous Roger Moore. The director Guy Hamilton was given the deciding vote and went for Roger Moore. It seems most likely then that, as is custom, Bond 26 will find a director first and this director will then play an active role in helping to find the next Bond actor.
In March, it was reported that a gravestone for James Bond had been put in place on the Faroe Islands where No Time to Die did some shooting. The grave read - In Memory of James Bond, 1962–2021. The Faroese government were fully behind this ploy to attract James Bond tourists. In fact, the prime minister of the Faroes unveiled the gravestone himself. A James Bond sightseeing tour is now even available for visitors to the Faroe Islands. This illustrated the ongoing allure of Bond. Any connection to this famous character is still highly prized.
In 2022, Daniel Craig would go back on the stage to appear in Macbeth on Broadway. The producer of the play was a certain Barbara Broccoli. Some fans were a bit dismayed when they saw that Barbara was involved in this because they'd much rather she was working on Bond 26. It was unrealistic though to expect such a quick turnaround after the No Time to Die media marathon and Barbara was perfectly entitled to do other things away from James Bond. Barbara was, wisely perhaps, taking her time when it came to the next Bond film. There was still an awful lot to figure out. What tone should the post-Craig era Bond movies take? Should they be gritty or more outlandish? Who should play James Bond? Who should direct the film? Who should write the film?
EON had continued to speak very highly of Cary Fukunaga in the wake of No Time to Die and Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson both said they would love to work with him again. It didn't seem like long odds at this time to think that Fukunaga might very well be back in the director's chair for Bond 26. He even had a reboot pitch up his sleeve for such an eventuality. Allegations which mostly emerged in the summer of 2022 though would torpedo any prospect of this coming to pass. The carefully crafted image of Cary Fukunaga was now to be tarnished.
In October 2021, the actress Raeden Greer alleged that Fukunaga had fired her from a small part in the TV show True Detective several years previously because she refused to do a topless scene. Greer claimed that an angry Fukunaga, who she portrayed as a bully, put her under intense preassure to do the topless scene. When she refused, Fukunaga fired her and then hired an extra to do the topless scene instead. Greer said she had decided to speak up because she was absolutely disgusted to see Cary Fukunaga painting himself as some great feminist when he waxed forth about the strong women in No Time and Die and scoffed at those 'sexist' Bond films of the past. Greer thought that Fukunaga was a big hypocrite. "And now, Cary is out here talking about his female characters," said Greer. "It’s like another slap in the face over and over and over."
A woman named Rachelle Vinberg, who was in a relationship with Fukunaga which began when she was in her teens and he was 40, was next to slate the Bond director. Vinberg said that she was always terrified of Fukunaga and that he had an unhealthy interest in much younger women. Vinberg said Fukunaga would sometimes pretend she was his sister when they went out to avoid looking like a 'predator. She portrayed Fukunaga as a very controlling, weird, and manipulative man. Vinberg's social media posts about how awful Cary Fukunaga was were liked and reposted by the actresses Margaret Qualley and Kristine Froseth - both of whom had a relationship with Fukunaga in the past.
Next in line to complain about Fukunaga were twin sisters Hanna and Cailin Loesch - who appeared in his show Maniac when they were 20. Hanna and Cailin detailed how they'd both been wooed by Fukunaga over a long period and eventually came to the conclusion that he was a bit of a creep. Hanna and Cailin also said that during the pandemic lockdown Fukunaga showed them (the then unreleased) No Time to Die on his laptop in a bid to impress them. Fukunaga was portrayed by the twins as a spoilt middle-aged manchild who spent most of his time hanging around teenage girls.
Rolling Stone also ran an article in which former work colleagues of Fukunaga alleged that he was unproffesional and used his status in the film and television industry to manipulate young females into having a relationship with him. There were stories too that while working on Masters of the Air (a forthcoming World War 2 miniseries from Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks - following on from Band of Brothers and The Pacific), crew members had noticed that Fukunaga had a creepy habit of taking photographs of young female extras as they walked to and from the set. Nick Cuse, who wrote stuff for Fukunaga on Maniac and No Time to Die, made it clear that he supported all the women and described Fukunaga's conduct as 'horrible'. Cuse also seemed to suggest that Fukunaga was an artistic fraud who would pass off the work of other writers as his own.
'Cary Fukunaga is the worst human being I have ever met in my life,' wrote Cuse on social media. 'He didn't groom me but he did use a lot of the same tactics to get me to write his scripts for him. Which he would then put his name on. One time, after spending three weeks on a script, he made me open up the cover page and type his name under "Written By". I had to literally type the stolen credit with my own fingers. I'm ashamed to say I didn't stand up to him or say anything at the time. The worst part of the experience was that whenever someone else mentioned that a line I wrote or an idea I had was good, he would always have to change it. He couldn't bear that it was not his. Even though he was getting credit!
'As far as girls, his type is 'looks underage.' I don't know much about the things he's done to women but I'm sure they are horrible. The way he treats all people (other than celebrities) is horrible. I did not have an experience remotely comparable to [Rachelle Vinberg], [Hannah and Cailin Loesch], [Kristine Froseth]. But by speaking out, they opened my eyes to the fact that I was under the spell of a vile cult leader. If you are in the industry I hope you are aware of that before you decide to work with him. I wish someone had told me not to. I deeply regret it.'
In response to all these damaging comments, Cary Fukunaga's lawyer denied that he'd ever done anything wrong and said all of the relationships were consensual. In the promotional materials for Masters of Air though, as it neared release, all references to Fukunaga were removed. Cary Fukunaga was rather hoisted by his own petard in the end. He had promoted No Time to Die as if he was the most enlightened and least sexist man in the entire world. That evidently wasn't quite the case in his real life though. The chances of Cary Fukunaga directing Bond 26 had now gone from pretty good to absolute zero.
In May, 2022, Danny Boyle was asked about his aborted Bond film in an Esquire interview. "Weirdly," said Boyle, "it would have been very topical now — it was all set in Russia, which is of course where Bond came from, out of the Cold War. It was set in present-day Russia and went back to his origins, and they just lost, what’s the word... they just lost confidence in it. It was a shame really." Interestingly, Boyle said the idea of Bond having a child was from the script by John Hodge that EON jettisoned. Boyle said he would steer clear of franchises in the future and would most likely never direct a Bond film now. Boyle suggested that Paapa Essiedu or Robert Pattinson should be the next Bond. Pattinson's participation in a new Batman series made that last suggestion rather unlikely now though you would think.
In June, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson were awarded BFI Fellowships. This prestigious honour put them in exalted company with the likes of David Lean, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, and Martin Scorsese. Tim Richards, BFI Chair, said - "I am honoured and excited to be awarding Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli with the prestigious BFI Fellowship. I can think of no-one else more deserving particularly as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the incredibly successful James Bond franchise. With amazing insight and vision Michael and Barbara have not only re-invented Bond for today’s audiences, but No Time to Die arrived at exactly the right moment to welcome those audiences back to the big screen experience as never before. As equally, if not more, important is their commitment to our industry away from the spotlight, where they work tirelessly to open doors for others by playing a huge part in educating, supporting and inspiring the next generation of film makers."
Ralph Fiennes handed over the awards in person and there were video messages from Daniel Craig, Dame Judi Dench, Léa Seydoux, Rami Malek and Sam Mendes. Terry Gilliam, Edgar Wright, David Arnold, and Jamie Bell (who is occasionally trotted out as a Bond candidate - presumably because he was once in a film produced by Barbara Broccoli) were among those from the world of film who were in attendence. Barbara Broccoli was naturally asked about who the next James Bond would be (I'm pretty sure this is a question that Barbara was tired of already!) during the special evening and said that no one was in contention at all because they still had to decide what sort of approach they were going to take -let alone who they were going to cast as 007. Barbara was sensibly still keeping her cards very close to her chest when it came to Bond candidates.
The biggest problem facing Bond 26 is not really the leading man though. You should be able to find any number of British or Commonwealth actors who could make a decent fist of playing 007 and look good in a tux. The biggest problem facing Bond 26 is the usual checklist of concerns that face any new James Bond film. Coming up with new stunts. Keeping up with the action movie rivals. Coming up with a vaguely topical plot. Keeping Bond relevant. Finding a good script. Coming up with a good caper for the villain. Casting good actors. Finding interesting locations. Coming up with new gadgets. Finding a good director who is suited to an action adventure film. And making sure the marketing campaign and release date affords the film every advantage possible when it hits the cinemas. These will be the prime concerns of Bond 26 and any Bond film you care to mention. But choosing the new 007 is always a fun guessing game for the fans and media alike.
In August, 2022, it was announced that MGM had signed a deal with Warner Bros to handle the international release of their films. This meant that Warner Bros would have an important role to play in the Bond franchise going forward. The deal did not include Bond 26 though as that would be bound by an existing deal with Universal. MGM, ever troubled by financial problems, had worked with various studios on distribution in the Craig era. Skyfall and Spectre were both made during a distribution deal with Sony. MGM had been in the Bond business since 1981. They had gained their stake in Bond through buying United Artists. With Warner Bros involved with Bond going forward and MGM now backed by Amazon's money, the 007 franchise appeared to have very firm foundations as it looked towards the future.* The article above is an extract from the book No Time to Die - The Unofficial Retrospective
BUY THE BOOK - NO TIME TO DIE - THE UNOFFICIAL RETROSPECTIVE